Midgett Family- Dare County, North Carolina
Dare County is considered by many decoy collectors and historians as the epicenter of North Carolina working decoy carving. Bounded by the Pamlico, Croatan and Ablemarle Sounds and on the banks of the Atlantic Ocean, Dare County has been home for generations of families that made a living boat building, fishing and duck hunting.
Following the end of market hunting in 1918, numerous hunt clubs for sports hunters were built in the shallow marshes and tidal flats. Clair Midgett (dates unknown) a local carver, hunter and guide, operated a modest hunt club on Oregon Inlet from 1915 until 1940. Tom Midgett (1840 -1860), an early sustenance and market hunter is credited by some as being the maker of North Carolina's oldest documented mallard decoy. Marvin Midgett (1866 - 1971), a coast guardsman, supplemented his income by selling decoys to local hunters and hunt clubs. Monroe Midgett (1898 - 1976) and son Bob Midgett (1909 - 1987) maintained a portable hunting platform on a houseboat on Oregon Inlet. Neal Midgett (dates unknown) from Hatteras was a well known carver of "above average" skill.
Like most regional carvers the Midgetts' used cedar, gum and cyprus roots when available to turn out their decoys. By the 1940's, the Midgetts' had begun to produce decorative art sought by collectors. The Midgetts' are credited with a number of canvas covered duck and goose decoys and Canada goose, redhead and brant decoys of wood.
For additional information
Southern Decoys of Virginia and the Carolinas, 1983 by Henry A. Fleckenstein.
Waterfowl Heritage: North Carolina Decoys and Gunning Lore, 1982 by William Neal Conoley, Jr.